If you often feel tired, exhausted, short-fused or even emotionally out of sorts, you might need some rest and relaxation! Life is increasingly busier, expectations are rising and in a digitally connected world, this can make switching off difficult. If you want to maintain good health however, you may need to prioritise rest and relaxation. Here’s why:
Studies show that stress accounts for 75-90% of visits to the doctor and is also linked to the 6 main causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
Relaxing promotes the ‘relaxation response’ which targets stress and stress-related illnesses whilst also helping you sleep better. Sleep further boosts health and makes you a nicer person all-round.
When rested, you feel better, brighter and better cope with the everyday ups and downs of life. Quality rest helps to balance your hormones, and therefore you too.
You, like everything else in the natural world, are designed to ebb and flow, meaning that it is impossible for you to experience peak performance without rest, despite what society or your Type A personality tells you. Try and push through troughs of energy and you’ll soon hit burn out. You and your mind, just like the muscles in your body need time to rest, recalibrate and recharge between use. Space in the week creates opportunities to reflect, analyze and grow, which also helps you assess the importance of what you’re doing. This means potentially a better-quality life for you and your family. Restful holidays can return you to work feeling invigorated and better able to handle challenges.
There are many ways you can harness the benefits more rest and relaxation offer.
If you have a habit of saying “yes” to things that don’t matter to you then you not only waste your time but also your energy too. Take time to sit with your to-do list and prioritize, organize and reschedule what really matters to you, so your busy doing things that matter rather than filling your time with what doesn’t.
Whatever gets scheduled gets prioritized. Add something restful and relaxing, such as a walk outdoors, in between dropping off dry cleaning, finishing a presentation or collecting the kids. No time scheduled for you usually means no time left for you. Time can be scheduled within a day or be blocked into a half or full-day.
Time with people you care about boosts your sense of self whilst providing you with much-needed love, fun and support. Don’t let ‘busy’ stand between you and those you love. Scheduling a coffee catch up or a walk with a friend. That one hour means happier, more connected, supported and loved.
Meditation is my favourite way to promote the relaxation response. You can learn to meditate by downloading my free five-minute meditation right here- look top right. Alternatively, and at any point in your day, you can simply become mindful of your breath, extend the exhalation and bring relaxation into whatever you are doing or set aside 5 minutes to do nothing but breathe.
Life may feel fast but by prioritising time and opportunity to rest and relax you can choose a life which is far more productive and feels much slower, making you healthier, and happier. Fantastic news for everyone who is longing to do less.
*This article originally appeared in November 17 issue of Peninsula Living and North Shore Living
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